Look Inside Ciao Market, Softly Open in Chelsea
The latest from the pizza-and-pasta shop has Italian-style coffee, gelato, grab-and-go sandwiches, and community comforts.
The Chelsea community has an inspired new spot for morning coffee—and a whole lot more. Ciao Market, the second venture from the upstart hospitality pros behind the dark horse pizzeria of the same name, softly opened this morning on Broadway. The Italian-style café, gelateria, and pasta factory officially opens on Thursday, July 27.
Edson Coimbra and chef Marvin Posada, Chelsea residents who met working at Back Bay’s Mistral and L’Andana in Burlington, opened Ciao! Pizza and Pasta in fall 2015, despite some skepticism from friends in the industry.
“Chelsea is a city that nobody gave a damn [about]. How many people in Boston told me we’d be out of business in six months?” Coimbra asks, rhetorically. Instead, in 2017, Ciao Pizza was among Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. and has a Best of Boston award on its wall, and Chelsea residents turned out in droves to voice support of the owners’ new café and their forthcoming Winnisimmet Lounge, Coimbra says.
“Little by little, we’re trying to build a community around what we do,” he continues, noting that each project is a block away from each other, making a triangle. “We’re trying to make this square lively again. Bring people out.”
That means filling a niche—with the market, it’s a place to go for a fine cup of coffee, quick lunch and dinner solutions, and a comfortable setting to hole up and get some work done. (Yes, there is free wifi.) The small storefront, formerly a convenience store, is about twice the size of the pizzeria, with a cold prep room in back (visible to guests through a small window) where cooks will make all of Ciao’s fresh pastas.
Pounds will be available for purchase, alongside Ciao-made sauces, New England Charcuterie products, and imported olive oils for Chelsea commuters to pick up to bring home to make dinner. The coolers in the café will be filled with cold sandwiches and salads, made fresh every morning, for grab-and-go lunches, or to be heated up in an oven behind the counter for on-site consumption. On top of the bar is an espresso machine for a full range of Counter Culture espresso drinks, and iced coffee is also on the menu. A vintage freezer case houses seven, rotating flavors of gelato, from Italian maker Bindi Desserts and Malden’s Giovanna Gelato e Sorbet.
Populating the counter are filled doughnuts, croissants, bagels, and more freshly baked pastries, the production of which Posada is overseeing. The chef is also the head barista, at least for now—his latte art is the most impressive, Coimbra says, with a laugh.
“We’re going to keep it simple in the beginning,” Posada says. One of the opening menu sandwiches is prosciutto di Parma with heirloom tomatoes, a little basil, and “maybe some tomato vinaigrette. We have a wood-fired oven at Ciao, which we’re going to use to prep some items we’re going to use here.”
The comfortable space is meant to be reminiscent of a classic Italian café, with vintage-inspired tiles on the wall, marble countertops, and antique decorations. And everything has a story: Two, nearly identical gold-mounted mirrors were salvaged from two different locals—the theory is a long-closed store in the Chelsea area must have sold the once-trendy design, Coimbra says.
Other neighbors donated a solid, 500-pound wooden butcher block, which holds self-serve water; and a rustic, wooden icebox. The developer of the Winnisimmet Lounge project found a mint green, cast iron, New Fairmount stove, circa 1916, in the basement of a home he bought in Chelsea—it now holds milk and sugar for coffee, and other café storage. There’s an original sketch of a victorian home that still stands in town, and artist X Bonnie Woods—Coimbra’s neighbor—also has some works on display and for sale.
“We wanted to build something that looks like it’s been here for a long time,” Coimbra says—the type of place that the community has long been hungry for. Generally speaking, “[Restaurateurs] don’t want to come here because they don’t know the market,” he says. “I live here. I run by this every day. More than anything, we’re providing a place for people to get out of the house and mingle with neighbors.”
Ciao Market is open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
Ciao Market, 212 Broadway, Chelsea, Ciao Pizza and Pasta, 59 Williams St., Chelsea, 617-286-9346, ciaopizzaandpasta.com .